2021-22: College Junior
Saint John Vianney College Seminary, St. Paul, MN
I first felt called to the priesthood during a mission trip to Colorado. This mission trip took place in the summer after my sophomore year of high school. During this time I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a career in the future and which colleges to tour based on that career. Throughout that week of mission I got closer to God and at the end of the week Fr. Chris Fontanini mentioned to me something along the lines of that I should consider priesthood. This struck me in an odd way and that thought stuck to me for a while. I confided in my friends about this option, that has been on my mind, and they weren't so sure about it and I also thought that I was way too young to be called to the priesthood. So I dismissed it, but for the next two years of high school as I was touring colleges and pursuing different options of careers, priesthood would always pop up. My goal was to become an engineer or a nurse and to raise kids of my own, but that is what I wanted, not God.
Two years after the first thought of priesthood, I was on another mission trip with my parish to El Paso, TX in late August. I graduated earlier in May and I was planning on attending Iowa State to pursue engineering. The theme of the trip was "God's plan for you". This really got me thinking about the priesthood because I was about to enter college and pursue the path that I wanted. One day on the trip I prayed to God and asked, "If you want me to be a married man then please send me a sign; if you want me to be a priest then please send me a sign." The next night at Mass I was listening to the homily and I was in awe of how much the priest knew. I then got this unearthly feeling of joy and peace. I was shaking and sweating; I then knew that this experience was my sign and that He wants me to be a priest.
That experience lasted around 15 minutes and afterwards was a video about receiving signs from God! After that Mass we had small group and the group I was in met in the sanctuary where the tabernacle was located. We talked about religion and conversed, but I was in tears and couldn't take my eyes off of the tabernacle because I had this new connection with God and it was beautiful. Des Moines seminarian Reed Flood was in my small group and he helped me figure everything out and he answered all of my questions. God put me in good hands!
I received many other signs that week and I also made the phone call to my parents and to Vocations Director Fr. Ross Parker to tell them I want to enter seminary. After these signs, the way I viewed the world totally changed. I felt more patience, more understanding, and more love than I had before. Going into seminary, I am a little nervous, but I am so excited to get closer to God and grow in fraternity with the guys around me. I heard on the radio one day that the Lord doesn't call the equipped, but rather equips the called. This really hit me and gave me the confidence I needed to continue to pursue this path. I have never been so excited to learn about our religion, the sacraments, and everything the Lord has to offer. I don't know what what to expect going into seminary, but I have realized that if I am nervous I should not worry, I should pray, and trust in the Lord because he always works for our good and always leads us towards virtue and in the right direction.